On the proposed inclusion of cyber ethics in the curriculum

Your rights offline are the same as your rights online. This has been the guidepost for the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. Democracy.Net.PH believes that there is nothing fundamentally different in the way that people should relate to each other “in real life” vis-à-vis how they should relate to each other on the Internet. Thus, the rights—and responsibilities—are the same. There is nothing inherently special about the Internet that would flip our understanding of what is good or bad behavior, or what is true and false.

Thus, while we welcome the attention paid by our legislators to the need for educating our youth on cyber ethics, we believe that the better approach would be information and communication technology (ICT) literacy for our people.

We need not start from scratch. The Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) of the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Digital Strategy for 2011-2015 is a good start and deserves the support of the Senate and Congress. The ICTO has drafted a program with measurable targets. Among these are:

1. To increase basic ICT literacy levels, as measured by internationally accepted standards, by 10% of the baseline annually up to 2016.

2. To adopt national ICT competency standards for administrators, teachers, and learners based on international standards.

3. To increase application of ICT-supported teaching strategies and learning resources to a rate at least 50% higher than current baseline levels in 2016

4. To increase number of available ICT-based learning content to a rate at least 50% higher than current baseline levels by 2016.

5. To increase number of graduates with 21st century skills, by 10% annually above current baseline levels up to 2016.

There are programs worthy of government support, both in terms of funding and commitment.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. There is, however, an imperative to strengthen it.